Macau casino operators will be able to submit applications to receive fresh concessions beginning tomorrow, July 29. That’s according to the enclave’s newly formed Committee for Public Tendering of Concessions for the Operation of Casino Games of Fortune.
The regulatory body was revealed only this week through Macau’s Official Gazette, the news outlet of the local government. The nine-person committee will oversee the issuing of new casino permits and assure that those deemed qualified seek to accomplish similar economic goals shared by the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR).
It’s largely assumed that each of Macau’s current six casino concession holders — Sands, MGM, Wynn, Melco, Galaxy, and SJM — will receive new tenders. But unlike their original 20-year licenses that are set to expire at the end of this year, the new privileges will run for only 10 years.
Macau has opted to keep its gaming market capped at six casino operators. But there is nothing stopping another global casino giant from bidding for one of the coveted certificates.
However, with the current six companies invested in Macau to the tune of tens of billions of dollars, the odds of an outsider winning licensure are long at best.
January 2023 Start
The officials who will oversee the retendering process explained today that beginning tomorrow, July 29, the government will open up the bidding period and begin accepting applications. Cheong Weng Chon, Macau’s secretary for administration and justice, is spearheading the casino licensing committee.
Cheong says the goal is to ratify new gaming concessions before the end of the year to allow the new concessions to become effective on January 1, 2023. The tendering committee will work in conjunction with Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng to determine and implement economic goals supported by the new concessions.
Cheong says a major component will be transforming Macau into a more international-appealing destination that lures in not only high rollers from the mainland but general tourists throughout Southeast Asia. That will involve the six casinos telling the Macau government what sort of non-gaming investments they would make in exchange for the 10-year casino rights.
The government will require the companies participating in the tender to give a detailed account of their investments and commitments in terms of non-gaming development plans and the development of overseas markets,” Cheong detailed.
“The source of visitors to Macau is too homogeneous, so we hope that in the new tender, the participating companies will focus their development and investment commitments on expanding the source of overseas visitors, opening up overseas markets and optimizing the source of visitors from next year,” Cheong added.
Macau Still Closed
The officials overseeing the retendering process might want to increase foreign visitation to Macau, but achieving that goal will be dependent on the SAR opening up its borders.
Macau remains closed off to most of the world, as COVID-19 continues to be a concern in China, mostly because of the People’s Republic’s ongoing adherence to its “zero COVID” policy.
Cheong is optimistic that China and Macau will soon be reopened to the world. “The governments believe the current outbreak will be short-lived,” he concluded.
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